The Mother of all Mountains

I made the decision to climb Everest back in 2014. I’d already reached the summit of Manaslu, the world’s 8th highest mountain, in September 2013. Before that I’d said no to Everest swayed by the negative journalism, the commercialism, the ‘buy your way onto the mountain’ attitude – but, probably, most of all because I did not think I was capable. However, I decided that I’d said no too many times in my past life – I had never even thought I was capable of walking up Snowdon in years gone by! I wanted to climb Everest to test my capabilities, face my fears and do it for everyone who I’ve had the pleasure of leading up a mountain, in the UK and abroad.

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Owling in Páramo

Now that we’re into April, this breeding season’s owling is well into its swing. Owling is the name our group gives to the activity of putting up nest boxes and monitoring them for these magnificent birds. In the UK, Barn Owls, Little Owls and Tawny Owls breed inside pre-existing cavities, such as tree hollows and outbuildings, but all will breed in nest boxes. Short-eared Owls are ground nesters and Long-eared Owls prefer to breed in old Magpie and Crow nests.

I started owling in 2006 and have been hooked ever since. I get immense joy seeing owls up close, but am predominantly driven by a desire to provide additional nest sites for them, to ring any chicks, and to contribute to the BTO’s nest record scheme. Whilst ideally we’d like all owls to breed in natural cavities, research has shown that a shortage of suitable nest sites can limit owl numbers. Furthermore, at some sites, especially in modern farm buildings, nest boxes can provide a more secure nest site compared with semi-exposed sites without vegetation.

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Páramo Detox: successes and challenges

RobertoIsotti_Greenpeace

In January this year, Páramo became the first outdoor company to sign up to the Greenpeace Detox commitment, leading the outdoor industry in ensuring hazardous, persistent pollutants are excluded from textile production and working towards minimising kit entering landfill. The intervening six months have seen significant successes – and challenges – with progress on four strands of Detox from Páramo’s perspective: PFC-free production, Supplier testing, Closing the loop and Education & motivation….

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